Is it cheating to get someone else to write your CV?

I was recently talking to a friend about my work and she surprised me when she said that asking someone else to write your CV for you was cheating.

Once I’d recovered from what was not really meant to be an insult – we’ve been friends for many years – I realised that to some people, this may seem like a strange thing to say, but…

the reality is that attitudes to CV writers differ across the world.

For example, being a resumé writer is an accepted and respected part of the career and job searching network in the USA where the acronym CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) is evidence that the writer is a trained professional. You could even argue that hiring a CV writer demonstrates how seriously you take your CV.

However, in the United Kingdom, the system is not regulated, and though things are changing, the majority of people are still quite cautious and even cynical about asking a stranger to write their CV. There’s still the perception that it’s cheating, like forging someone’s handwriting.

In 2019, you’re still generally expected to follow an outdated template which could potentially be professionally embarrassing if you’re not that great a writer or your grammar knowledge isn’t up to par. That’s a lot of pressure which you don’t need, especially when others with much more experience can do it better.

A CV is a form of marketing, and we employ professional writers to create enticing copy for products, so why not employ the same methods for promoting ourselves?

CVs have changed a lot in recent years. The language we use now is different. Gone are the detailed lists of responsibilities and stock third-person phrases like ‘excellent interpersonal skills’ and ‘ability to communicate at all levels’. In their place are career stories and a focus on the impact you’ve made, not the things you’ve done.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the job market, it makes sense to find out how things are done now in order to increase your chances of success. But, would you go so far as commissioning someone to write your CV?

Think about this for a second:

  • How many CVs have you written? Maybe one every few years if you’re like most people
  • How much experience do you have writing CVs? Not much. See previous answer
  • Are you aware of current CV trends? No. I’m too busy and not interested enough to find out

And all that is fair enough. Why should you? Why not get someone else – like me – to do it for you?

However, there’s a huge difference between handing over all responsibility and using a specialist who can help you get it right.

There are systems, structures and formulas you can follow, but it still has to be “you” enough to feel real.

Marketing blurb can sell a product, but sales decline and the product fails if it can’t live up to the promises made in that marketing copy. It’s the same with a CV which might get you an interview, but you have to match the CV when you answer the phone or walk through the door.

In my experience, most people have an innate ability to spot inauthenticity and they respond to it negatively, whether conscious of it or not and recruiters or experienced hiring managers have that ability honed to perfection.

Another element to consider is that in a world dominated by manipulated and filtered social media images, the search for authenticity has become an increasingly necessary feature of recruiting. That’s why, when I work with clients on their CV, I ask them time and again “Does this sound like you?” because if it doesn’t, it will fail them and I want us to succeed.

The objective of a good CV is to get you a job interview.

I work together with my clients to help give them the most effective and most authentic CV to help them get that interview and move forward in their career.

And did you know that with many years’ experience as a Talent Developer with a global investment bank, I can also help you with job interview skills? Maybe I’ll talk about that in a future post…

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

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